YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents discovered nearly $178,000 in methamphetamine, in addition to fraudulent documents, and a loaded firearm, in three separate incidents Wednesday, leading to the arrests of seven people.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., Wellton Station agents working at the Interstate 8 Immigration Checkpoint encountered a Honda Civic with two occupants. The driver claimed to be a U.S. citizen, and the passenger presented a resident alien identification card. Agents referred the occupants to the secondary inspection area, where the passenger admitted he was illegally present in the United States from Mexico, and was presenting false ID. The driver, a 20-year-old male, and his 40-year-old passenger were both arrested.
In the second event at 3 p.m., Blythe Station agents apprehended a 24-year-old lawful alien permanent resident, and a 24-year-old U.S. citizen for the human smuggling of two Mexican nationals at the Highway 78 Immigration Checkpoint. In the vehicle a loaded .45 caliber pistol was found, and questioning revealed the driver was headed to Los Angeles. The two smuggled aliens, a 23-year-old female, and a 21-year-old male were also arrested. The firearm and vehicle were seized.
In the final event at 3:30 p.m., Wellton Station agents working at the Interstate 8 Immigration Checkpoint referred a Ford Explorer to the secondary inspection area where a canine alerted to it an odor it was trained to detect. Agents searched the vehicle and found 52 cellophane-wrapped packages under the rocker panel. The substance inside tested positive for methamphetamine. The narcotics weighed 59.18 pounds and were valued at $177,540. The 28-year-old female driver, a U.S. citizen, was travelling with her nine-year-old daughter. The driver was arrested on drug smuggling charges, and her daughter was turned over to Child Protective Services.
Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of criminal activity charges without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Individuals can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Reporting illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.